Recently recognised by the European Commission as a chronic relapsing disease1, obesity affects an increasingly substantial group of people, who faces complications such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis or even cancer2. Achieving weight loss is notoriously hard - for many, maintaining a successful weight reduction is even more difficult. Pharmacotherapies for weight management may help people achieve and maintain their optimal body weight.
Building on the experience that started with the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist (RA) liraglutide 3.0 mg for once-daily subcutaneous (s.c.) injection, the successor to liraglutide, semaglutide, was recently introduced as an option in weight management as semaglutide 2.4 mg for once-weekly s.c. injection. The underlying clinical development programme is the STEP (Semaglutide Treatment Effect in People with obesity) programme, which comprise a range of completed and ongoing clinical trials.
Below, we introduce the main scientific publications for eight of the STEP trials. Together, the trials corroborated the potential of semaglutide in weight management, extending the well-established clinical utility of the GLP-1 RA from diabetes to obesity/overweight. Throughout the trials, the safety and tolerability profiles of semaglutide were in line with the well-known profiles of the GLP-1 RA drug class.
In addition to the articles detailing the results of each of the completed STEP trials, two review articles have recently been published as well.
In Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, le Roux and co-authors describe the pharmacological profile of semaglutide 2.4 mg in chronic weight management, with focus on chemistry, mechanisms of action and the pharmacological properties.
In Obesity, Tahrani and Morton discussed how more-than-modest weight loss likely have benefits on weight-related complications. For example, the authors note how large weight loss (more than 10%) leads to improvements in hypertension and type 2 diabetes as well as knee osteoarthritis, cancer, sleep apnoea, fertility and health-related quality of life.